ON THE weekend of August 20/21, one of the oldest GAA clubs in the land will celebrate a magnificent birthday. The Mooncoin club will be 125 years on the GAA road, a journey that has brought glory and honour, joy and sorrow, success and disappointment and enormous value of all derivation to the village nestling on the Northern bank of the river Suir.
The club was initially formed in the month of January 1889. The first committee was presided over by Richard Dunphy. The first vice-President was John Walsh, while James Comerford was elected treasurer. Pat Fogarty acted as the secretary for a number of years afterwards.
How history or the repetition of history is seen to re-invent itself with the same names still involved at the coalface of this most famous of clubs. Names like Comerford, Dunphy and Walsh are still linked to the club after all of that time. A truly remarkable statistic at a truly remarkable milestone in this famous club’s life.
Will unveil plaque
On the Saturday most of the events, and displays, will be held indoors. The celebration will be officially opened by the President-elect of the GAA, Liam O’Neill, who will unveil an inscribed commemorative plaque in the village at 7pm.
Afterwards all surviving adult members of Mooncoin county championship winning teams in senior hurling and football, plus championship winning teams at junior level will be presented with inscribed scrolls by the President-elect immediately after the unveiling.
The oldest survivors will be those who won the 1961 junior county final by beating Coon by 4-11 to 2-2. The members of the 1965 senior hurling team that beat Bennettsbridge by 2-8 to 1-8 in the 1965 county final will also be present, and the county junior football champions of 1964 are scheduled to share in proceedings.
That surely will bring back memories, and a few tears of joyful remembrance, as old teammates meet, some for the first time in years, others not since the events happened.
There will be a photo gallery containing pictures of every All-Ireland winning Kilkenny hurling team, from senior to intermediate, to junior, under-21, minor, colleges, club senior, junior and intermediate. Every All-Ireland winning senior camogie team picture will also be on display, and the chairperson of the Kilkenny Camogie Board, Catherine Neary and Paul Kinsella, the County Board chairman will share the rostrum with the President-elect.
Pictures, trophies galore
Press cuttings of all games will be mounted in special viewing frames, while medals and trophies won by many of the great Mooncoin players over the years will be on display. Even the original Bob O’Keeffe Cup, named after the former President of the GAA, Glen Grant man, and former Mooncoin player, Bob O’Keeffe will be on show.
That cup still holds the distinction of being the largest sports trophy in Europe.
On Sunday there will be a commemorative game between Mooncoin and Tullaroan (3pm). Mooncoin played Tullaroan in the first county final at the Freshford Road venue in 1887. Tullaroan won by 1-1 to 0-4 (a goal out-valued any number of points).
There are a huge number of games planned prior to that match at every age level from under-6 upwards. There will be live music all day, and a barbecue for all. It promises to be a great occasion, with much for everyone to enjoy.
And the good thing about the entire event is that it’s all free.
The Glenmore ‘B’ specials take the prize after glorious battle
I HAD a day of mixed emotions in Slieverue on Sunday, but on my evening visit I was privileged to watch as entertaining a hurling game as one could hope to see. Glenmore hung on grimly to win this South junior B championship final after extra time.
This game had huge swathes of great endeavour, enormous passion, bouts of light-hearted good humour by a huge crowd and a finale that had supporters on both sides baying for everything that came into their heads. To compound matters, the game finished in the twilight hours, due to a rather unfortunate injury suffered by Glenmore corner-back, David Boyle, who was removed efficiently by the local club to Waterford Regional Hospital. Hopefully the boy is not as bad as first suspected.
Two goals in the 7th and 10th minutes by Mark Aylward had Glenmore ahead by 2-3 to 0-2. Some steady shooting by Ethan Ryan, Aidan Walsh, Richie Doyle and Johnny Phelan squeezed Mooncoin back into the centre of the arena by half-time.
Glenmore led by 2-7 to 0-10 at the 30 minute mark, but Glenmore looked the more likely winners at that stage.
A goal by Niall Madden seconds after the re-start left Mooncoin bouncing. From there to the finish we had daredevil hurling allied to fierce commitment and awesome passion. While the evening got gloomier, the endeavour levels never dropped a morsel.
Some wags were calling for the lights, others were looking for a bag of turf and firelighters. I just love these local contests, and the Southern ones are so entertaining.
Lead changed repeatedly
Ethan Ryan, Aidan Walsh, Johnny Phelan faced off against Mark Phelan, Ken Cottrell, Sean Kirwan. The lead changed repeatedly.
Extra-time loomed. The wags were out now in force, as the chilling evening sent people scurrying for extra cover.
When Cottrell shoved Glenmore ahead on the death, Ethan Ryan stopped the impending celebration of victory.
When John Phelan and Ethan Ryan sent the Mooncoin people into rapturous celebration with two marvellous points at the start of extra time, the brilliant Mark Aylward pulled back the pony with two marvellous strikes. The sides were still level after 70 hotly contested minutes.
Sean Kirwan clattered over two grand points for Glenmore at the start of the seconf period of extra time. Ray Wall cancelled one, but Mooncoin couldn’t grab the Glenmore effort and an Aylward free gave the winners a cushion. Still they had to withstand the pressure of a last minute penalty, and a last second 65 that didn’t even get time to go to ground before the referee blew it all up.
Fabulous entertainment on and off the pitch.
Scorers: Glenmore - Mark Phelan (2-10, seven points frees); Ken Cottrell (0-4); Sean Kirwan (0-3); Paddy Connick (0-1). Mooncoin - Ethan Ryan (0-11, ten frees, one 65); Niall Madden (1-0); Aidan Walsh, John Phelan (0-2 each); Shane Walsh, Tom Healy, Ray Wall, Richie Doyle (0-1 each).
Glenmore - P. Fitzgerald, D. Boyle, P. Foran, A. Phelan, S. Duggan, D. Aylward, D. Garvey, D. O’Dwyer, P. Murphy, B. O’Donoghue, K. Cottrell, P. Connick, M. Aylward, Michael Kelleher, S. Doherty. Subs - David Flynn, James Aylward, Paddy Hennessy.
Mooncoin - B. Ryan, B. Mackey, S. Walsh, F. Law, T. Walsh, A. Henebery, P. Doody, T. Healy, S. Walsh, R. Doyle, N. Madden, E. Ryan, J. Phelan, A. Walsh, M. O’Neill. Subs - T. O’Hanlon, R. Wall, C. Blanchfield, G. Kirwan, J. Kearns.
Referee - G. Quilty (Slieverue).
The ’Town edge through in tight finish
Blacks and Whites 0-15
PLAYING with the breeze in the first half, Thomastown would have expected to have mined a far better advantage than their nine point haul in this junior hurling league clash in Thomastown.
In fact, they were fortunate in a sense that they even had that as they were woefully inaccurate when shooting for points from reasonable distances. On the other hand, the Skeaugh lads never dipped below maximum speed as they teased and tormented the opposition with unflinching dedication.
It would be fair to say that the end game here was in doubt right to the final whistle, although when the winners got their snouts in front inside the closing 10 minutes it never seemed that they would lose the game.
At half-time the scoreboard read: Thomastown 0-9, Blacks and Whites 0-8.
Thanks to some very good striking by the likes of Tommy Farrell and Niall Kennedy, the losers opened a little sliver of advantage, but it was narrow enough, and never insurmountable. Coming into the closing 10 minute stretch they still had the two-point advantage, but Dylan Waugh, Colin Clarke and Johnjo Farrell destroyed that lead back to shot themselves ahead.
Thomastown were well served by Derek Lanigan, Dessie walsh, Dylan Waugh, Colin Clarke and Darren Burke. Paul Murphy, Joe Kelly, Sean Kealy, Tommy Farrell and Niall Kennedy were best for Blacks &Whites.
Scorers: Thomastown: Dylan Waugh (0-6, four frees); Johnjo Farrell (0-3); Colin Clarke (0-2); Shane Lanigan, James Hoyne, Dessie Walsh, David Prendergast, Stuart Waugh (0-1 each). Blacks and Whites - Niall Kennedy (0-6, one free, one 65); Tommy Farrell (0-4); Paul Murphy (0-2); Michael Ryan, Peter Cleere, Charlie Ryan (0-1 each).
Thomastown - D. Walsh, M. Cullen, B. Murphy, R. O’Hara, S. Moloney, D. Lanigan, S. Lanigan, J. Hoyne, D. Walsh, D. Waugh, J. Farrell, M. Maloney, D. Prendergast, C. Clarke, D. Burke. Subs - J. Cullinane, S. Waugh.
Blacks and Whites - J. O’Grady, T. Joyce, S. Kealy, P. Joyce, K. Fitzpatrick, P. Murphy, M. Maloney, J. Kelly, A. O’Dowd, T. Farrell, N. Kennedy, M. Doyle, M. Ryan, P. Cleere, J. Lennon. Subs - C. Ryan.
The great and not so of Slieverue!
THIS writer travelled for the first time on Sunday morning to Slieverue for the expressed purpose of reporting on the Piltown versus Slieverue junior hurling game which turned out to be appalling.
However, my morning was not an unconditional waste. I happened to bump into the chairman of the under-14 team, Michael Alcock, which had won the county league final Roinn B the evening before, defeating St Lachtain’s. Unbridled happiness was still palpable in the Slieverue atmosphere as the parish church drew us to silent prayer with the Angelus bell.
The quality of the junior game was such that I ended up paying more attention to the juvenile win, something that had not been managed for a longer number of years than ten. Talking to the chairman of the Juvenile Club, Michael Alcock, and team mentor, Michael Freyne it was apparent that something very special was afoot down Slieverue way.
Endeavouring to keep the lid on the excitement - “We have a championship coming up shortly,” said Freyne, “so we don’t want these lads blown out of the water” - it was still very obvious that some notice of the achievement should appear in print on some publication.
Well, the KP, always willing to oblige our Southern cousins are not slow in such matters that should be written about.
This bunch of youngsters have been a work in progress since they were under-8 years of age when mentored by Eamon O’Donovan and the legendary James Walsh. Alas, Eamon passed away at a very young age some few years ago. The poignancy of the occasion was not lost as Eamon’s son, Luke, who was the nominated captain of the side by all the panel, received the winners trophy.
The occasion was celebrated in the village, but the tempo was kept on a very solid, sensible footing.
The other mentors are Pat Power, Nicky Fleming and Willie Mullally.
I thought that it was a good news story from a village that is not too flathúileach on good news stories presently.
The names of the winners are - C. Fleming, J. Mulcaire, D. Irish, G. Morrissey, B. Alcock, P. Murphy, L. O’Donovan, S. Moore, M. Egan, J. O’Brien, D. O’Keeffe, D. Corrigan, C. Power, E. Phelan, J. Frisby, O. Buggy, E. Freyne, E. Walsh, G. Grant, M. Irish, A. O’Brien, W. Mullally, M. Gaynor, S. Roche.
The junior team were well beaten by Piltown by a score that will not do much good for their morale, and will do less for the winners, Piltown. The score is not worth recording.
Oh yes! I went back down after the All Ireland semi-final on the ‘box’ to be mightily entertained by Glenmore, Mooncoin, and the huge crowd.
Ah yes! The good, the bad, and the not so pretty of Slieverue.
Windgap show real heart
St Patrick’s 1-14
THIS was a great result for Windgap in the junior hurling league, and, in the opinion of many, a surprise. As has often happened, the trip to Windgap has proved a more than frustrating experience for many an outfit that fancied their chances against the dour, tough, uncompromising lads in red.
On the face of it St Patrick’s were racing certainties to win, given that most pundits give them more than a favourites chance of winning the county title this season. On this form, they can forget that one.
They were struggling to match the locals for passion, fire, commitment – at least the Philly Lonergan brand - pride and courage. When you look at their resources, they have more class players than practically every other junior outfit in the race, but on Sunday they were off colour.
Am I being hard on the St Patrick’s lads?
Windgap played with gay abandon, with fire in their eyes and courage in their hearts. They had the irrepressible Philly Lonergan in outstanding form dominating the middle of the park, and they had Niall Doran playing the part of executioner up front. Between them they bagged the majority of the Windgap take.
Windgap had a tremendous, if not fortuitous start, when Philly Lonergan’s long-range free ended up in the back of the Ballyraggett net after four minutes. At half time that goal separated the sides, Windgap leading by 1-6 to 0-6.
The second half was evenly contested with the locals just managing to keep their noses in front, despite a late St Pat’s surge. It was hard earned for Windgap, but a win nonetheless that they fought for and earned.
Scorers: Windgap - Philly Lonergan (1- 9, 1-6 frees); Niall Doran (0-5, four frees); Conor Lonergan (0-1). St Patrick’s - Kevin Kelly (1-8, 1-4 frees); Brian ‘Brookie’ Phelan, Joe Brennan (0-2 each); Paddy Cahill, Soirse Kenny (0-1 each).
Windgap - P. McKenna, V. Landy, N. Power, M. Enright, P. Landy, J.J. Phelan, J. Mackey, C. Ryan, P. Lonergan, E. Cody, D. Power, V. Long, N. Doran, C. Lonergan, E. Hawe. Subs - J. Murray, G. Purcell, T. Lonergan.
St Patrick’s - M. Gannon, J. Mooney, G. Morrissey, B. Dooley, K. Delaney, J. Gannon, G. Brennan, B. Phelan, P. Cahill, J. Brennan, S. Kenny, K. Kelly, S. Mooney, B. Phelan, M. Brennan. Subs - S. Roberts, C. Delaney.